Tips for Standing Out Among Competition

The idea of presenting a business plan can be daunting and overwhelming for most people.  Even more, immense pressure is added when you realize that you will be not only be presenting but competing with other strong business groups with great innovative ideas and passion for accomplishing their goal. For this competition, it is important to not only have an outstanding business plan and present well, but to stand out among competition and be just a bit brighter and more confident. Here are a few tips that are important reminders on how to stand out among competition and have a great presentation:

1. Demand attention in the room. It is important, when presenting, to speak confidently, clearly and with enthusiasm.  Be interesting; you need to speak with passion, energy and excite the crowd with your fantastic ideas. When you speak with enthusiasm and passion, the audience will develop positive associations with your plan. If you show you are passionate and excited, they will be too.

2. Have less text in your plan. Your business plan should show graphics, charts, visuals and tables. You need to not only be able to tell but show what makes this plan great and why it works. Only using words, the plan can be empty, but data and tables and graphics prove that your plan is more than just research but something implementable and understandable. Plus, it makes it interesting and enjoyable to read. A diagram will make more sense than a long wordy paragraph.

3. Take risks. Good business plans anticipate possible challenges and hurdles. It is important to plan for a variety of scenarios to deal with possible obstacles. Creating a business plan is not about avoiding risks, but understanding possible challenges and managing them in a proactive manner.

4. Maintain your uniqueness. It is important to understand and research competition, but make sure you stick with what makes you unique and different. Learn from your competitors’ strengths, but don’t model yourself after them. Understand their past mistakes and work to avoid similar ones. Research the competition and use that information to improve your plan.

5. Get other opinions. You can benefit greatly from presenting the business plan to multiple professionals in the industry. It is important that you use the resources and the intelligent people around you to create the best plan and presentation possible. Just a few constructive comments could really improve upon and impact your plan to touch upon a point you never realized. Plus, the more you practice,the better and more confident you become.


Written By Tara Gremillion


International Spotlight

New Venture Championship prides itself on its identification as one of the premier international business plan competitions in the United States. As recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the top 15 small business plan competitions in the U.S., NVC is rapidly stretching its influence across the water to international applicants. With this in mind, we look at a prime resource for students with a business plan around the world — Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) takes place around the third week of November each year and consists of roughly 30,000 competitions around the world. These competitions range from Startup Weekend, which takes place in 15 cities, to the 22 country-wide CleanTech Open—which featured Oregon’s very own Arcimoto in 2010. GEW is an opportunity for students to connect with professionals who provide feedback for their ideas and endeavors, via international competitions as well as online and personal interactions.

The idea behind GEW is to connect young entrepreneurs with business professionals in their area and across the nation. Students are provided with feedback about their ideas and endeavors in hopes that they will find success in business plan competitions similar to NVC. Brazil ranked at the top of the participation list during the 2010 GEW with more than 7 million active participants and about 4,000 events. After only two years of existence, GEW continues to grow into a well-known event across student entrepreneur groups throughout the world.

New Venture Championship is not a GEW-sponsored event; however, they each represent an opportunity for feedback and success. Visit the website for Global Entrepreneurship Week to peruse the variety of opportunities that will be available each November, and plan your start in the world of global entrepreneurship today!


Written By Nicole Hyslop

The Portland Business Community: Events

For those who are just starting out in business or are new to the Portland area, there are opportunities to become involved in organizations that connect you with the Portland business community and help to build your business.

The Portland Business Alliance, Portland’s leading business association, provides a membership that strives to boost your business, raise your impact and impact your community. The alliance offers opportunities to meet and build relationships with potential customers and clients through networking programs, community activities and special events.  Not only is the alliance dedicated to providing value to its members, but works with other organizations and businesses to build a strong city and regional economy.

Membership allows for exclusive opportunities, events, programs and discounts that will provide strong advantages in the business community. Educational and leadership programs help establish a link with successful business professionals so that connections are built and skills are sharp. Additionally, the Alliance’s committees and councils allow you the opportunity to advocate for initiatives important to you.

Among the many beneficial programs and events offered to members, the Alliance does allow for non-members to attend two Alliance events as a guest. Attending these events may offer a glance into the benefits of membership with the Portland Business Alliance and can be a resource for new business professionals to gain connections and see what a business alliance membership may have to offer.

Here are some events coming up within the next month, if you are interesting in checking it out:

12/1/2010 Green Hour hosted by Service Master

The Green Hour event will showcase companies who succeeded in incorporating green practices into their daily business. These innovative companies promote sustainable business practices for the region’s businesses. This Green Hour will promote community awareness and educate on how sustainability can positively affect our day-to-day lives.

12/8/2010 Business After Hours at Portland Prime

This event is a networking opportunity to create new business relationships. Appetizers, door prizes and refreshments will be provided in a relaxed setting.

12/14/2010 Business Leads Exchange at The Rose Quarter

Business Leads Exchange is an opportunity to build lasting business relationships and share valuable business leads. The program will have a sponsor presentation, small group networking sessions and a facilitated group discussion on business-related topics. Over 75 members attend.

12/15/2010 December Forum: International Trade: The Region’s Economical Catalyst.

Over breakfast, the Alliance and the Pacific Northwest International Trade Association, (PNITA) will unveil its international trade study and will feature top trade level experts Emilia Istrate, Senior Research Analyst at Brookings Institute and Bill Wyatt, Executive Director of the Port of Portland. The speakers will discuss their latest research on the impact of trade on the Portland region.

To find more details on these events and look for more upcoming events put on by The Portland Business Alliance, check out their website.  (tag on the word “website”.)


Written By Tara Gremillion

Where in Portland will NVC Take Place?

The 20th annual New Venture Championship will take place at the University of Oregon in Portland at the White Stag Building and the beautiful Hotel Monaco.

The White Stag Building is home to the University of Oregon in Portland as part of the White Stag Block, located just west of the Burnside Bridge off of NW Naito Parkway, in Portland’s Old Town District. The White Stag is named after the history of the building itself, which once housed ‘White Stag Sporting Goods’ in 1931. The historical light-up Made in Oregon sign, which still stands above the block, features an actual outline of a white stag; however, the words Made in Oregon were replaced with Portland, Oregon on November 17th, 2010. The White Stag block is composed of the White Stag, Skinner block, and Bicklel block buildings, all three of which were merged and renovated in 2008. The facility is now incredibly sustainable, with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification. The complex features green aspects from its basement to the roof, and holds lecture halls, large event spaces, studios, labs, and the Duck Store.

Hotel Monaco- “Art Lives Within

Hotel Monaco Street View

The motto of this luxury hotel upholds its story: Designer Cheryl Rowley revolutionized what once was a building of 1912 Edwardian art into a dramatic and colorful four-star hotel located in the center of Portland’s business district. On each floor, you will find pieces of the hotel’s art collection, composed of numerous Northwest artists. The evening wine reception, in the Monaco’s living room, provides canvas, paint, and brushes to create your own work too. The location of Hotel Monaco couldn’t be more convenient for Portland visitors. Within walking distance, you will find Pioneer Square, the Pioneer Place Shopping Pavilion, the Waterfront Park, and dozens of delicious restaurants. The MAX line provides easy transportation up and down the downtown blocks.



List of Amenities:

  • Fitness center
  • Business center
  • Free high-speed internet
  • Complimentary morning coffee and tea
  • 24 hour room service
  • Concierge

Written By Hannah Moore

The Value of NVC

Graduate students have a diverse selection of business plan competitions in which to enter. Some offer large cash prizes to jump-start your business, while others offer an opportunity to receive invaluable feedback directly from the judges. Regardless of the incentives, entering a business plan competition provides an opportunity to expose your business to potential investors who have the resources to take your business to the next level.

For the past 20 years, New Venture Championship (NVC) has provided participants with unparalleled value as they work to make their business plans a reality. Because of its intense academic focus and guaranteed feedback from judges for all competitors, NVC is internationally recognized as one of the top three business plan competition in the world.

Graduate students have chosen NVC over other competitions because it provides an unmatched experience for a start-up venture team. The NVC experience boasts a structured competition, acclaimed judges, and plentiful feedback, all in the heart of Portland, Oregon.

Value of Competition Structure:

This competition has a prize pool of $60,000, with $25,000 awarded to the team champion. At NVC, every group leaves with a cash prize to aid its entrepreneurial endeavors. Out of 20 teams, five are chosen to compete in the final round. The other 15 teams compete in the Lightning Round, where the quality of their teamwork and adaptability is tested in a 15-minute presentation to the judges. Since every team is sure to leave the competition with a financial investment, NVC provides promise to any start-up business.

Keith Larson of Intel Capital, a semifinal judge in 2006, spoke of the prestigious competition, calling it ″one of the top international business plan competitions. The New Venture Championship is a great place to source real deal opportunities.”

Value of Judges:

Many of the competition sponsors are also well-established community members and entrepreneurs who comprise the judging panels. Not only do they provide generous financial support to NVC, but they also offer professional support by allowing members of their executive management teams to participate as judges. Some judges are presidents or CEOs of respected companies, which include Columbia Sportswear, Intel Capital, and Tektronix. The expertise and wisdom they provide to participants is what past participants have called “the most valuable aspect of the competition.”

After winning the 2009 New Venture Championship, Reed Quinn, a student at Brigham Young University, was very pleased with the quality of the competition. “The NVC was by far the best competition that we participated in. The caliber of the judges was phenomenal. We had judges in the first round of judging that purchased our product, tried it, used it, and had feedback on the product and packaging itself.”

Quinn continued, “Judges were much more prepared and knowledgeable about our business than other competitions. They were matched very well with our company. We had judges that had the product experience as opposed to lawyers or real estate experience.”

Jesse Thomas, a participant from the University of Oregon in 2009, said, “The judging was our least and most favorite part of the competition. They are intelligent and ask really good questions. They really challenged us.”

Value of Feedback:

The mission of NVC is to develop skilled and knowledgeable entrepreneurial leaders who are prepared to confront the flux of the business world with creative solutions. This competition is conducive to that goal by empowering judges to provide teams with feedback after each phase of the competition.

Robert Warren, team adviser from the University of Manitoba, is convinced. “This is one competition we attend every year because of the quality of the competition’s structure and the judge’s feedback,” Warren said.

Paul Daily, a participant from Washington State University in 2006, recognizes the value of the NVC. “The feedback we received will enable us to vastly reduce the risk and time to market our venture. Every would-be business leader should compete at NVC.”

Jim Jindrick, a faculty advisor from the University of Arizona in 2006, was pleased with the experience. “NVC is so well-organized. The judges provide excellent feedback — they do a great job of looking at the entire plan not just the technology. NVC for us is the premier competition in the country.”

From former participants to judges and professors, people believe NVC is the premier business plan competition because the quality of judges and the value of their feedback are simply unmatched.

Value of Experience:

NVC is committed to providing an educational atmosphere where students grasp an understanding of the entrepreneurship process and establish ideas about detail orientation crucial to entrepreneurship’s creative side. Each phase of the competition, from its structure to its judges, is engineered to foster the future success of its participants. Previous participants, judges, and sponsors all agree: NVC will benefit your start-up venture — whether you take the grand prize or not.

James Stefanakos, a participant in 2006 from Georgia Institute of Technology, agrees. “The value of the experience I have gained from the NVC is immense. The feedback from the judges was insightful and very helpful for us to achieve our final goal: launching our company.”

Joel Adams, a participant in 2007 from the University of Louisville, felt the same after the competition. “The NVC provided the best judges, the greatest incentives, and the most inspiring community of entrepreneurs that I have yet experienced,” he said. “The feedback and the intensity of the experience are unmatched; the result is a stronger team as we move forward with our venture.”

International students are equally pleased with their experience. Apisek Tewinpagti, a student at Mahidol University in Thailand, left NVC asserting, “Great competition. Learned a lot. Feel like a winner by just being here.”

Judges and business leaders respect the real-life application of this competition. Luis Machuca of Kryptiq Corporation and a finals judge in 2005, said, “NVC is as close to a real-world experience as you can give your students. The preparation required, the pressure and scrutiny from the judges makes it very real.”

John B. Dimmer of FIRS Management, LCC and NVC judge in 2002 and 2004, is confident of the value this competition has to offer. “I have no doubt that these are the business leaders of tomorrow,” he said. “I would like to think that, years from now when we read about them in the business journals, the New Venture Championship played some part in helping them achieve their success.”


Written By Nic Corpora

Welcome to the 2011 New Venture Championship Blog!

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Posted by Hannah Moore